Bees for Development Journal Edition 16 - May 1990

Page 1

TROPICAL TREES POR TROPICAL BEES Beekeepers everywhere must involve themselves in the debate for the retention of tropical habitats. Previous editions of this Newsletter have described traditional beekeepers living and working in tropical forests and woodlands, and in this edition we have interesting new information about Vietnamese methods of obtaining honey from Apis dorsata. Tropical forest-dwellers are financially poor, without access to a strong lobby, and they deserve our support. Their traditional beekeeping and other activities are sustainable, but the trees on which these activities depend are being cleared for the short-term financial gain of others. The long-term consequences are disastrous for all. Beekeepers often recommend that trees valuable for bees should be incorporated into planting schemes: at village level, and in small-scale planting schemes either native or introduced tree species can be appropriate. But just as bees that evolved locally are better suited to a particular environment than introduced bees, so it is with trees. It is original, native ecosystems which must be repaired. Not all reafforestation is environmentally beneficial and in many countries rural people are now rebelling against inappropriate planting schemes. For example, much of the Himalayan belt is being covered with massed planting of chir pine. It is true that this species will grow on difficult slopes but it is beneficial only for the pulp and resin industries. Chir pine is poor at water retention, and soil erosion continues. The ideal way to re-green such hill sides is to allow regeneration of the complete range of indigenous trees and shrubs which will provide valuable floral diversity for bees: often all that is needed is to protect the area from grazing as native species re-establish themselves. Although regeneration is a slower means of reafforestation than massed planting of fast growing species, it will in the long term yield a far richer diversity of resources. In some countries reafforestation schemes plant vast areas of (Australian) eucalyptus or acacia. True, these species are sometimes very useful for bees, but they are not native species and do not allow original sophisticated ecosystems to be re-established. Beekeepers must be careful to argue for the appropriate tropical trees for tropical bees.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT This and all previous editions of the Newsletter have been produced and sent to you, free of charge, under funding that IBRA received from the Overseas Development Administration of the UK Government. From April 1991 IBRA will no longer receive this funding. Unless other sources of financial support can be located, the

Newsletter will be only available on subscription. The Newsletter is currently distributed to over 3000 beekeeping projects,

groups and individuals in 145 developing countries. Many recipients would be unable to obtain foreign exchange to pay a subscription fee. Since the information carried in the Newsletter relates mainly to low-cost, low-technology beekeeping and is aimed primarily at those who have no other access to beekeeping news, it would be unfortunate if we are forced to cease distribution to these recipients. ] would appreciate your offers and suggestions regarding future funding for the Newsletter.


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Stop Press The idea of an association specifically for Asian beekeepers and scientists has been discussed at many international meetings in recent years. The idea is now becoming reality, with the formation of The Asian Apicultural Association, with its Administrative Centre based in Japan at the Institute of Honeybee Science, Tamagawa University. Fuller details will be given in the next edition of this Newsletter.

Dr Nicola Bradbear, Advisory Officer for Tropical Apiculture, IBRA, 18 North Road, Cardiff CF1 3DV, UK

100% recycled paper

International Bee Research Association

ISSN 0256-6626

BEEKEEPING IN VIETNAM by Vincent Mulder All over Vietnam’s long-shaped country beekeeping

is an important economical acitivity. However, because of the variety of ecological and climatic conditions, every area has its own beekeeping system. There are various beekeeping or honey hunting traditions in each area; different levels of beekeepers’ organisations (from local bee-hunters groups to nationwide migratory beekeeping units), and, perhaps most importantly, at least four different honeybee species, as well as stingless bees. In order to illustrate the variety of beekeeping systems in Vietnam, reports by five beekeepers working in various parts of Vietnam are summarised below.

bees return and rebuild their nest. At the end of the honey flow when the comb gets darker the colonies will abscond and move to other regions where flowers are available, eg to the seaside mangrove forests. Next season they will return to the old sites. Unfortunately, due to huge deforestation practices everywhere in the country and even in the marshy Melaleuca zones, this A. dorsata honey resource becomes less and less. The next report is

Exploiting rafter bee nests of Apis dorsata in southernmost Vietnam by Mr Tran Cong Ta Apis dorsata, locally named “rafter bee”, “tree bee” or “giant bee”, is endemic to Asia. It has a single comb nest, which hangs from a sloping branch of a tree. During each honey flow, three harvests can be obtained, each of 5-10 kg of honey per colony. Many unsuccessful attempts have been made to contain A. dorsata: shortly after hiving them in a wooden box, glass box or netted box, they abscond. In the southernmost two provinces of Vietnam, Minh Hai and Kien Gian, A. dorsata nests are exploited by tempting the bees on to man-made rafters. This is traditionally practised in “Tram” forests, characterised by a high density of low trees (Melaleuca leucadendron) in marshy land. Many collectives specialise in raftering bees, called “phong ngan”, each collective consisting of 30-50 households that rely for much of their income on the harvest of honey and wax. In 1979 these collectives harvested 150 tonnes of honey. For raftering suitable places are selected in the Melaleuca forest. Two stakes are driven into the ground, one being about 2 m high and the other about 1.2m. A long wooden bar of 2.2-2.5 m (the rafter) is put on top of the stakes, at a slope for water run-off. The bar is a piece of trunk from Melaleuca or Areca palm, which is odourless, impervious to water and of 10 cm diameter. The trunk section is split into two parts with the flat side uppermost and the curved side down. The higher extremity should be in the sun. In this way one household makes up to 100 rafters for tempting A. dorsata swarms, and experienced bee tempters find 80% of their rafters accepted by 2

bees as a good nesting place. There are two main harvests of honey and wax each year, the first, called the “dry harvest” is between November and April: in this period the honey is more condensed, aromatic and tasty. The second harvest period called “water harvest” begins in May and ends in July. The honey then is watery and a little acid, but even in times of dearth there might be some harvest. At each harvest local people try not to kill bees, but smoke them gently for temporary chasing with Ficus root. Most of the comb is then cut off, but both honey and brood is left on the upper part of the rafter to which the +



of an Apis cerana beein Hau Gian keeper province, Mr Duong Quang Thua:

The width of a frame bar It is a fact that when an Apis cerana colony is attacked heavily by wax moth larvae, destroying non-covered parts of their brood combs, such a colony is sure to abscond. From my observations on four colonies concluded that the width of the frame bar and the spacing between two bars play important roles in controlling absconding of A. cerana. Observation 1: One day in September 1988, when I inspected my empty hive stock (some still filled with old frames) that I had carelessly piled up |

my A. cerana frames decided to re-use the big frames in the box. Most of the large brood combs| tied to the top-bars, leaving out two old pieces of comb containing over one litre of honey. Ten days later inspected this four comb hive and found wax moth larvae in unoccupied parts of comb. This phenomenon supports my idea that the width of the frame bar is essential for controlling wax moth larvae in A. cerana combs. When the space between two combs is too wide the bees have difficulty in controlling nest warmth, and therefore they group together in the centre to keep warm, leaving the edges unoccupied. The same occurs when colonies become weaker in the dearth periods, and the number of bees decreases; then they are likely to abscond. |


in a hut behind my house, found two swarms in boxes. These swarms were quite different in size and shape and had already made three to four combs each. The combs were built across the old frames in the hives. Curiously, the nests were thriving, although wax moth larvae were eating old combs nearby. As discovered these colonies took two clean empty hives and new frames of which the top-bar width was 3 cm, with spacing nails of 0.5cm on both sides. Then transferred these’ two colonies to the new hives by cutting their brood combs and attaching them into the usual-sized A. cerana frames (used especially in the northern region of our country) of 21x 41cm. After three weeks these colonies absconded, leaving behind their combs infested by many wax moth larvae. Observation 2: In July last year worked with my colonies that were in a front yard of a farmer’s house for collecting citrus honey. The farmer’s son showed me an A. cerana swarm he had collected last year and put in a large wooden box about the size of a Langstroth hive, containing six frames. He asked me to help him in arranging the colony so that it could be managed, as it had given off many swarms while he could not inspect it. When took off the cover board saw what he meant: he had cut the six frames himself, with a top-bar averaging 3.5 cm. The bees had built their combs across these big frames, at some places sticking together. But certainly this colony was strong with big combs. Because of the large size of these combs, that did not fit |









Observation 3: another swarm is in an old empty hive box in front of my left untouched for two house, that months. In the hive box brood combs are built at random across the old frames and underneath the cover board. SometimesI tried to lift off the cover to study the colony’s development and it looked a mess inside. Recently saw drones coming out of the hive, so transfered the nest by cutting the wild combs and sticking them in 2 cm wide frames. At the same time split the colony into two, with a natural queen cell in one. Now have two nice colonies. After had transferred the combs out of the wild nest made measurements of the distance between the attachment of the comb centres on the cover board. This average distance seems to be 22mm +1 mm. Simimade some base prints of an larly A. cerana swarm of a gentle colony with big yellow workers, that was originally brought from the north of our country in 1982. Surprisingly we can see that the bees themselves indicate that they need a wider comb spacing: the average comb space here seems to be 27 mm. Finally I want to report a very strange, though lucky phenomenon: for some have suffered from a disease years called goitre caused by iodine defi|









ciency. I myself was very much depressed because thought it was a |

cancer tumour in my neck. Anyhow, tried to cure it myself in many ways, but nothing could diminish the tumour until one evening | started to pick up paralysed bees that were falling down dazed by the heat lamp in my house, after which I let them sting my neck at the place of the tumour. After doing this for a few evenings a week could see that the tumour diminished. By now, one year later, there is nothing left of the swelling. For me that was the reason to start using this cure in the village where have my new apiary. Many young women had the first signs of swelling in their necks. Now have 12 patients of whom seven are now cured. Total sting shots per patient for curing: 80-100; daily shots: 2-4. My assistant now continues the treatment with the five remaining patients. Could anybody tell me |




about similar effects of bee stings? Please write to this Newsletter.

And now the story of a migratory A. cerana beekeeper, based in the north of Vietnam, but migrating every year more than 1000 kin south for spring harvests: Report of the Hai Hung Beekeeping Group of Dong Ket apiary on bee management and honey production in south Vietnam by Mr Can. In the evening of November 1988 a group of beekeepers left Hai Hung province for the south with 212 bee colonies and a total of 620 combs (A. cerana). The 11-day travelling that followed was tiresome and full of difficulties. The bees were transported by a truck already overloaded with iron. Because of the too-heavy freight, the wheels were often flat and the truck went very slowly. In addition the travel duration and the arrival date were not clearly determined in the transport contract, so the driver felt somehow happy-go-lucky. At last the colonies arrived at the destination on 18 November at 1200. After inspection 48 colonies with 162 combs had died of suffocation; the surviving colonies were seriously weak: 90% of the brood combs were empty, without eggs or larvae, many colonies were of a onecomb population. One week later it 7


A. cerana wax can only be be harvested

from the cappings of honeycombs and some supplementary combs. The quantity is low: after six harvests 18.5 kg of wax were obtained. After Hevea honey production bees will be migrated to the Mekong delta region for harvesting longan honey. A. cerana is very fond of this nectar.

And now some findings of professional

A. mellifera beekeepers,


ge) appeared that 40 one-comb colonies

had to be united as they were too weak because queens had lost their egg-laying capability. By 25 November the colonies totalled 158 with 327 combs. Thanks to the Mimosa, which was still

flowering, colonies gradually became stronger. In these favourable conditions, queens were reared as soon as possible, for brood rearing. Furthermore a number of colonies needed to be united and colonies were multiplied to three combs each (normally four combs each colony). After that the two first batches of queen-rearing and colony multiplication were well implemented and successful: 85-90% good quality queens. But the queens reared by 10 January and 18 January 1989 were bad with only 30% of good quality. The building of new combs was combined with queen rearing and colony multiplication, resulting on 9 February in a total of 260 colonies, with 943 combs. As for supplementary feeding, from 20 November to 25 January 335 kg of sugar were invested. Sugar was fed after the settling and, later on, to colonies that were building new combs. Up to now (20 March 19839) six harvests have been made. A total of 3590 kg of honey has been obtained averaging 3.5 kg/comb. All colonies are strong and healthy and many combs are newly built. This contrasts with neighbouring A. melliferc apiaries, where the colonies become weaker after the start of the honey flow from Hevea trees (15 February). In

who work in the

central southern region of the country:

Some experiences in the structure of bee colonies for higher yield and better

honey quality, by supering and more efficient bee management by Mr Tran Thanh Can and Mr Cong Du Dien. In November 1987, with the assistance of the Dutch Committee for Science and Technology for Vietnam, we conducted a programme of experiments for improving the honey quality. From the experiences obtained since then we would like to present some findings and observations: During the period from October to January, prior to honey harvest, there is plenty of pollen and nectar making con-

ditions favourable for queen rearing and colony multiplication. But the results depend very much on the beekeepers’ investment capability. At the end of December beekeepers must select strong and healthy colonies for honey pro-

duction that will be supered from that time. New combs should be built for the bees to store honey, thus ensuring the transparency of honey. Weaker colonies become supporting colonies, one for each supered colony, out of which combs and bees will be used to strengthen the production colonies until these have two supers. The biological control of Varroa jacobsoni and Tropilaelaps clareae should be thoroughly practised by confining infested brood combs in queenless hives (only queen cells present), and trapping mites on drone combs with larvae. be Chemicals should absolutely avoided because bees and human consumers are very sensitive to any residues, which cannot be seen. If pollen combs are abundant, surplus can be stored for future use. For longer and better conservation, dry sugar can be sprinkled on the open cells. From 10 January supering can begin and production colonies should be strengthened with brood combs from supporting colonies. So, starting from 20 January, empty combs become available in the supers ready for honey

storage, and from the beginning of February we have a mighty force of workers ready for the honey flow that starts about 10 February. After supering, royal jelly may be produced in the supers (providing queen excluders are available). Honey harvest should only be done on sunny days, because high air humidity will dilute the sealed honey quickly: honey should only be extracted when at least 50% is sealed, and only from supers. Attention should also be paid to the cleanliness of honey extraction implements and honey tanks. The result of such management is that honey will be very transparent and of low water content (17-19%). Moreover sugar feeding before the harvest period can be The quanreduced due to supering. tity of honey harvested will be slightly reduced compared to the old method without supering, but the quality of the honey is much higher.

The last report is taken out of an interview with traditional beekeepers on Cat Ba Island along the north east coast of the country. The beekeepers are Mr Thach and Mr Dien:


Traditional beekeeping techniques Mr Thach started beekeeping years ago using horizontal log-hives made of hollow tree trunks. Starting with two such hives he found that the island is very good for bees, with three harvests every year. Like many other farmers on the island they go to the mountainous areas or far north on the mainland in Quang When bees fly back to their nests in a straight flight, then the nest is nearby (less than 1 km distance). If they fly first in small circles the nest is farther away. When they find a nest they use smoke to

clear bees off the combs. If possible they cut out all the combs, but try to te-attach the brood parts again.In cavities this can be done quite easily by putting forked sticks under the brood comb. In this way the honey collector can return to this nest next season for another harvest. Sometimes they are able to catch the whole colony. If so they Ninh province. They go for honey collection from A. cerana colonies hidden in small caves in the rocks. When they return home they always take some captured colonies with them, which they put into hollow trunks placed near their houses on low stands. To find the bees’ nesting places, they watch foragers and they try to see where they fly to. The best time of day is 1400 hours. Sometimes they try to discover the nest site by using a little honey; the direction that bees fly after feeding is a guide to nest direction. try to catch the queen and bind a hair around her wing and put her in a piece of cloth or a jacket. When the whole colony has gathered around her they take it home. Honey collection from A. dorsata happens in the same way, but they never try to take such a colony home, as they would abscond immediately. They collect only the honey comb, and visit it three or four more times for further harvests. For two years Mr Thach has put the A. cerana colonies in upright trunk hives. Each comb is attached to a top-

bar with a piece of string. On the top there is a stone cover, or planks. In this way honey harvest is much easier; from each bar he can cut away the honey part and re-attach the brood comb. He has learned this method with top-bars from other beekeepers on the island. Mr Dien has kept bees, as sideline work, for 20 years. He learned from his father. Unlike other beekeepers he does not clip the queen’s wing to prevent absconding as he fears that she may not then go for a mating flight. Feeding bees is not common practice arnong the beekeepers in Cat Ba, but at every harvest they leave enough honey for survival during the dearth period. In wintertime they cover the hives with straw and mud. a

If you are interested in the beekeeping programme in Vietnam, or want to correspond with any of these beekeepers, please write to: Committee for Science and Technology for Vietnam, IMAG, c/o Mr Jaap Brands, PO Box 53, 6700 AA Wageningen, Netherlands.

Apis andreniformis This is a small honeybee, found in south-east Asia, which to the naked-eye appears very similar to Apis florea. However a recent paper by a multinational group of authors* confirms that Apis andreniformis is a species in its own right. This conclusion is based on studies which revealed differences in the endophalli of the two types, suggesting that mating between them would not occur. Other differences

were in the structure of drone hind legs and worker bee venation. Previous authors have also detected biochemical and behavioural differences between the species. it is known that Apis andreniformis exists at least in Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo and the Southern China peninsula. Past publications concerning Apis florea must now be reconsidered in a new light. * Wongsiri,S; Limpipichai,K; Tangkanasing,P; Mardan,M; Rinderer,T; Sylvester,H A; Koeniger,G; Otis,G (1990) Evidence of reproductive isolation confirms that Apis andreniformis (Smith 1958) is a separate species from sympatric Apis florea

(Fabricius 1787). Apidologie 21: 47-52.

How many Apis are there now? Apis cerana, Apis dorsata, Apis florea and Apis mellifera are well-known. Apis vechti (reported in Newsletter 12) is now referred to as Apis koscheunikovi*. Whether Apis laboriosa really is a separate species from Apis dorsata is not yet clear (although many believe it to be so) with Apis andreniformis (above), Apis species now number at least seven. *

Ruttner,F; Kauhausen,D; Koeniger,N (1990) Position of the Red Honeybee, Apis koschevnikovi (Buttel-Reepen 1906), within the Genus Apis. Apidologie 20: 395-


Pseudoscorpions Pseudoscorpion, a member of the arachnid family, was first documented in hives of the Indian honeybee Apis cerana in 1947 but had been observed in hives in Kashmir many years before. A specimen of pseudoscorpion collected from comb of an infected colony was sent to Rothamsted Experimental Station in the UK for identification by Dr M F Allen. Pseudoscorpion is dark brown in colour. It is easily detected because of its long body size (3.5 mm) and prominent pedipalps. They are found inside hives on walls, combs and bottom boards and are completely harmless to honeybees.

FA Shah and TA Shah, Shah Beekeepers, Kursu, Rajbagh, Srinagar 190 008, Kashmir, India.


& ,


44 42 2

BELIZE Africanized honeybees arrived in Belize in late 1987 and with them came the same disruptions that have been experienced in most of South and Central America. Beekeepers were completely unprepared to deal with the aggressiveness of the Africanized bees. The total number of colonies in Toledo District dropped from 1100 in 1986 to 382 in 1989. Practising beekeepers decreased from 67 in 1987 to 18 in 1989 and honey production fell from 17 000 kg to 2750 kg in 1987. The Maya Indian beekeepers faced a loss of income and the Southern Beekeepers’ Co-operative Society considered closing its doors and disbanding by mid-1989. But in spite of all the problems associated with Africanized honeybees, a spirit of determination and confidence prevailed. It is hard to keep a beekeeper down for long!

The Southern Beekeepers’ Co-oper-

ative received accounting and bookkeeping training from BEST (see Newsletter 13) and is planning to expand services for its members and the

public by selling agricultural supplies. The acreages of citrus, cocoa, bananas and mangoes are increasing rapidly in the district and so is demand for hardware and fertiliser. The profit from their sale will keep the Co-operative in business until honey production returns to normal. Most active beekeepers now have coveralls, gloves, veil and a smoker and they are beginning to be cautiously optimistic about managing Africanized bees. Swarming and absconding are still problems but extension officers are promoting supplemental feeding, making divisions and swarm trapping. Finally, the Marimba top-bar hive is generating some interest. Field trials will begin in January 1990 to test acceptance and yield. The top-bar hive is a low-cost alternative for beginners and 6


takes advantage of the unique characteristics of the Africanized honeybee. (Tom Hyden, Peace Corps Volunteer, Ministry of Agriculture) African or Africanized? . . find out on page 12

EGYPT Varroa disease has recently been identified in two Governorates of the Nile Delta. This means that Varroa has now been confirmed right across northern

Africa: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.

GHANA A busy year for beekeeping projects


the Northern Region was rounded off in December with a successful two-day workshop at Kpatinga in the Gushegu-





planned for the district capital, Gushegu, it was agreed to move it 12 km to the village where it would have a greater impact in introducing modern methods to traditional beekeepers. The workshop coincided with a visit to the north by Hannah Schreckenbach of German Appropriate Technology, who was in Ghana to review progress on projects under her responsibility. An encouraging 94 people attended the workshop, but only four of these were women and Mrs Schreckenbach asked the chief of the village, Kpatinga Lana, and his elders to encourage more women to take up beekeeping. GRATIS has promised the chief that another workshop will be staged in March to ensure that the benefits of beekeeping are spread to the poor rural communities of the north. Lectures were conducted by Margaret Owusu, on secondment to GRATIS

from the Technology Consultancy Centre's Apiculture Promotion Unit, and by Nelson Akukumah, GRATIS Rural Industries Officer. They instructed participants in the installation of five bee hives made at the Tamale ITTU. Prior to the workshop, they had accompanied Trainee Beekeeping Officer, Edward Azumah, on visits to various women’s groups in Tamale who had been given bee hives. The Northern Regional branch of the 31st December Women’s Movement were not keeping their hives properly, but they assured the team of their continued interest and offered to pay for the hives. The group also visited the towns of Nyankpala and Tolon, near Tamale, to inspect hives. Extension visits carried out at various locations in Tamale by RAWID officer David Mensah to find out if hives had been harvested revealed that last year's unusually heavy rains had badly hit beekeeping activities. The bees had fed on their honey because rain prevented them from foraging, so most combs in the hives were empty and no harvests were recorded for the rainy season. Beekeepers in these areas were advised to feed their bees to ensure survival and enhance honey yields during the usual harvesting season from February to March. In the south, GRATIS has started a credit scheme to enable prospective beekeepers to obtain hives and to encourage participants at workshops to become beekeepers. Under the scheme, drawn up by the Financial Advisor Jean Dupont, GRATIS will finance the hives for Tema ITTU and, after giving them to new beekeepers, will harvest and sell the honey to help pay for the cost of the hives. Any excess money will be paid to the beekeeper, who must agree that hives not yet paid for or neglected can be removed and re-allocated. (Nelson Akukumah and Charles Ofori Addo, GRATIS News, January 1990)

GUINEA BISSAU October, the Beekeeping Department of the Ministry of Rural development and Agriculture in Guinea Bissau hosted a five-day seminar for beekeeping development. It was the first national seminar. 30 participants took part in fruitful and stimulating discussions about beekeeping development. Two ongoing projects in Bagri and CaboTfangue were used as examples to copy in the future. Among several guest speakers, the Minister of State, Carlos Correia, gave a stimulating talk about the value of bees and beekeeping for pollination, environmental protection and for rural developIn

We sell our honey to local groceries and we have received orders from West Germany, Saudi Arabia and France, but we are limited because of our low production capacity. We are held up by lack of funds to expand the project. This is because many people have come to understand how economic beekeeping is compared with other local enterprises. (HilaryM Mbabazi)


Beekeeping in Guinea Bissau: a hive made beautifully from local materials. (Photograph: B Svensson). ment. He stressed that Guinea Bissau was going to remain a “green” country and that the country should protect itself from the kind of ecological catastrophes that are beginning to be realised elsewhere.

(B Svensson, Bikonsult HB, Box 5034, Oja, S-733, Sala, Sweden)

my county who had a few traditional hives. They took me around their sites. On approaching them heard a noise which scared me but the farmers encouraged me to get near the hives. The noise increased and it took some time to reach one of the hives. Finaily came close and saw how busy the bees were. After that was interested to keep bees on my own site. The traditional hives are made of shrubs and fibres. ordered 10 hives and placed them near a coffee plantation and stream. started on 15 May 1981: on 15 June four hives had been colonised, by the end of July all 10 hives had bees. Ever since have continued looking after my hives and improved my methods of caring for them. My income has increased. In 1985 f approached the Ministry of Animal Resources, Apiary Section and was advised to attend beekeeping seminars at the District Farm Institute. have so far attended four. At these seminars learnt how to use top-bar hives and now almost all beekeepers in the area use top-bar hives because of their successful productive capacity compared with traditional hives. In January 1986, we met in the county and incorporated a company known as “Tropical Projects Ltd”. This company specialises in beekeeping extension with the aim of collecting honey and wax in large quantities. So far we have 150 beekeepers with over 2500 colonies. Most of our hives are traditional type but we intend to acquire more top-bar hives when funds become available. Out of 150 beekeepers 70 are women. |



TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO Trinidad and Tobago have US$500 000 from the Inter-American Development Bank Fund for Special Operations to carry out a credit programme for lowincome farmers. The Bank also approved a US$105 000 technical cooperation grant to strengthen the executing agency, the non-profit Association for Caribbean Transformation (ACT). The credits will finance various projects including beekeeping. (IDB News)

UGANDA Starting beekeeping in Bunyaruguru County — Bushenyi had never tasted honey beforeI visited Kabale town in 1979. I was surprised to find people drinking their local brew mixed with honey. enquired how honey could be collected in such large quantities and enjoyed the mixture (Enturire) of honey and brew. became interested in developing a honey project in my own region, 260 km north-east of Kabale. In 1980, visited local beekeepers in |










Apiculture in Zimbabwe goes back a long way. Traditional keeping and honey hunting were very popular in the early half of this century. 20 years ago, the Department of Conservation and Extension opened a Bee Centre at Mazawe. Beekeeping was introduced to small-scale and large commercial farmers. The Department of Agritex was created in 1980 and beekeeping expanded through the rural areas. Most beekeepers in Zimbabwe are found in Mashonaland and Manicaland Provinces. In rural areas logs, barks and clay pots are still used as hives. Some hunters are still going up mountains inspecting every cave and hollow tree for colonies. Transitional beekeeping has been introduced to a few traditional beekeepers. This has been achieved by creand_ holding ating awareness demonstrations with the farmers. Greek basket hives and Kenya top-bar hives are now in use. In some parts of the country beekeepers harvest honey and sell to commercial farmers who own Tefineries. At the moment there are no groups which process their own produce. One-week beekeeping courses are conducted at the Bee Centre where groups of beekeepers and extension agents receive lessons. Mr Schmolke is also involved in breeding queens which he kindly distributes to keepers on request. (G Murungu, Department of Agriculture,


nee Newly issued Tanzanian postage stamp featuring honeybees. (Kindly sent by Paul Nnyiti)


FLORAL CALENDARS Successful honeybee management depends upon a thorough knowledge of the local forage available to honeybees throughout the year. This allows the beekeeper to plan ahead: to build up strong colonies in time for honey flows, and to be prepared to feed in times of likely dearth. Efficient honeybee management is easiest in locations with very predictable climates an hence reliable honey flows. A floral calendar is a diagram which shows the approximate dates and duration of flowering of important nectar and pollen plants for a particular locality. It is a very helpful aid to successful beekeeping.

To prepare a floral calendar for your

area you need to assemble the following data: 1.


> Jo








tring. thing




List local flowering plants, and categorise them according to the abundance of flowers.

Eockedsiaateg 3:/

2. Monitor the acitivty of local honeybee colonies. The most satisfactory way ‘to do this is to measure hive weights to determine whether colonies are increasing or decreasing. 3. Identify which plants bees are visiting, and whether they are collecting nectar and/or pollen. Determine the frequency with which bees visit particular plant species and relate this to the level of food stores within the colony. 4. For each flowering species which is important for bees record the date that it first comes into flower, and the duration of flowering. 5. Assemble the data into a useful format, and check it from year to year. The more years over which the data is verified, the more reliable and useful will the calendar be.

Here is an example of an excellent floral calendar. it was prepared by D M McKinnon for use in Zimbabwe, and is reproduced with his kind permission. The calendar shows indigenous and cultivated plants, whether they are nectar and/or pollen producers, and the period of their flowering, together with seasonal dates.






orm Rarncn1are

utld prar

WtAato wmeGota




goes Plerocar pus Rea oer el igeoler Comb uelicor mrotle. Brachy tag






Z ~2 4off af combielim avatintewy


Ti<te paper Carh thorw


ndelterrana amntec.aonitle, 3<piphus Jtemernatia spf.

Peellophioriinre africanum, a<ta Loroco Bauhtenia Thonn gie ns onda, yotipflona


SO ws tuffeto WMA gtidie watt,


corntle foot

mono Lhatch

grade tbuchisccd

df). Fawrta Jcpeccoia Yrwnonea amygdatiena. wiuceihavahads< as

Erytitcna atyiscnica


eck” Cea Mayor



rumah 68/ 252 166 175

ssa 775

5 e 8 PI

248 0

2i 224 618 7392

280 208

268 260



q 4 4 > BI

7 =



366 <1












veEmamd 40. cluster





Mean Maximum

outside hive


at entrance 33-36 wax Secretion 31-35 braod rearing

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K Darbo and Mohammed E Jammeh

Thousands of articles have been published on queen rearing using temperate-zone Apis mellifera. Very little information is available on queen rearing with African bees, but in the following article Mr Darbo and Mr Jammeh report on their experiments in Gambia.

To make beekeeping a low-cost and

highly productive business in Africa, work should be done to help bees produce good queens. This study was carried out to investigate the possibility of using the manipulative management feeding technique to help the African honeybee, Apis mellifera adansonii rear queens naturally. Queen rearing can be a specialised business and it may be very costly. Under natural conditions man has no involvement in queen cells being built by the colony. However, this method has the disadvantage of dependency on bees building natural cells and limited possibility “for breeding from selected queens. Simple colony division is the easiest way to increase colony numbers. Divide a two, three or four-storey colony into two parts giving each a bottom and cover; so long as eggs or young larvae are present in the queenless half the bees will rear a new queen. The disadvantage is that the method is slow and sometimes fails. The simplest way to rear a queen with greater control is to remove the queen from a colony or cage her away from the broodnest area; or place a comb with eggs and larvae from a selected breeder queen into a queenless colony and then leave the bees to do the rest. The principle behind this method is that certain larvae in the worker comb are selected by the bees to be fed as queen larvae. The queen larvae is fed with an abundance of royal jelly and the cell walls are flared. Before the Jarvae reach the opening of the worker cells, the queen cell walls are turned downwards. Good queens often emerge from these ‘emergency’ cells, but may be poor if the selected larvae are too old. In artificial queen rearing one needs queen cups, bars and frames, wooden bases, grafting tools, cages to confine laying queens, mating nuc boxes and hive stands. Numerous artificial methods have been developed for GM Doolittle used a queen rearing. grafting technique wherein the larvae from a worker comb is rapidly grafted to queen cells under good conditions. Our study was conducted on the 189 ha Nucleus Estate Farm at Brikama in the Western Division of Gambia. The research used the African honeybee Apis mellifera adansonit, which although small is one of the most easy to swarm and hostile members of the bee family! Using five hives each with eleven standard frames, queenless colonies 10

Darbo and Jammeh brushing honeybees from a wild colony into one of the trial hives.

were brushed into the hives at night.

The hives were transported to their permanent sites. Frames containing oneday old eggs were taken from existing queenright colonies and exchanged for one in each of the five hives. The queenless colonies were fed with sugar syrup to cut down their aggressiveness and swarming tendency and to aid the colonies in rearing their own queens in a relatively short time from the newly-laid eggs in the cells of the exchanged frames. For the sugar syrup feed, a five litre plastic bucket with a flat-top indented cover (to provide a bee space) was used. Pin holes were punched in the covers, then the containers were filled with sugar syrup (sugar 1 : water 1) and inverted over the frames. The sugar syrup was prepared by heating 10 cups of clean water to about 80°C and then dissolving in this 10 cups of granulated sugar. The syrup was allowed to cool to 25-30°C and then fed to the bees. The sugar syrup is sucked by the bees through the pin-holes. The exchanged frames in each of the hives were observed for queen cells, queen emergence, empty queen cells and absconding tendency 13, 14, 15 and 16 days after exchange and subsequently.

Results and discussion The observation on the 13th day after exchange showed no sign of queen emergence or absconding in four of the hives. This may be due to the fact that the reared queens were still immature. Honeybees in Europe and America have queen emergence periods of about 16 days after the eggs were laid. Only the colony in the 5th hive absconded. This

relatively low rate of absconding could be due to the feeding with sugar syrup. Between the 14th and 15th day after exchange, it was observed that empty queen cells were present on the exchanged frames in hives of the four remaining colonies. That was evidence that queens emerged between the 14th and 15th day after the exchange. Efforts were made to trap the newly emerged queens in each of the hives but there was no success probably because the colonies were large and these African bees are very sensitive to external disturbances. To this end, they may easily protect or hide their newly emerged queens whenever there is potential danger.

Conclusions and recommendations It can be reliably concluded from this

study that natural queen rearing can be enhanced in African honeybees using the manipulative management feeding technique under Gambian conditions. A further conclusion is that the chance of absconding during natural queen rearing is much reduced when feed is provided. We recommend that African beekeepers utilize the feeding technique to enhance natural queen rearing. There are many benefits to be derived. African farmers generally have low investment in their operations and this method needs very little expenditure. Our method of queen rearing is worth trying as it requires simple basic knowledge, does not take much time, and the farmer does not have to depend on the supply of expensive artificially reared queens from distant places. find out on African or Africanized? ....

page 12


J Kaal

In Newsletter 15 Mathew Kawa described his use of propolis to relieve malaria. Other readers have written to confirm that they too have found propolis effective. In the following article J Kaal gives more information on the harvesting and use of propolis. (1 would like to emphasise that the ideas expressed in this article ave the personal views of Mr Kaal and are not necessarily endorsed by the International Bee Research Association- Editor.)

The author worked for three years in Tanzania (1961-1964). His task was to work with beekeepers in the Kilimanjaro region, teaching processing methods for honey and wax in view of expanding export. He also prepared young candidates for the degree of Beemaster. He was able to carry out some research on the African honeybee Apis mellifera adansonii and tackled problems of migration and aggressiveness of these bees. He assisted local people privately with health problems by treating them with solutions based on propolis. He is still working with propolis in Amsterdam making about 20 different therapeutics from propolis

and other bee products. Propolis is substance made and used by bees. It is composed mainly of resins, vegetable waxes and flavones. The bees collect these materials from leaf and flower buds, especially of conifers, beech, poplar oak, acacia, eucalyptus and grevilia. Honeybees make propolis by adding secretions of special glands (which contain enzymes) to the collected materials. These substances also give it a pleasant aroma differing from that of buds of poplar and resins. The colour of propolis varies from light brown to greenish or dark reddish brown. Propolis contains about 27% vegetable waxes, 46% balsams, about 15% flavones and flavonoids and a few percent of essential oils. The flavones and flavonoids are the especially active materials which produce the anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects, not only in bees but also in man and other animals. Honeybees carry the substance to their colony in the pollen baskets of their rear legs. Young worker bees pull the sticky substance from the pollen baskets of foragers and carry it into the bee hive, they liquefy it with saliva and spread it in cells. This coating probably protects the eggs laid by the queen and the larvae against moulds, bacteria and viruses. Moreover they use propolis in the honeycombs, to make them stronger and give them a higher melting point, which is important especially in the tropics. They sometimes use large amounts of propolis at the hive entrance. They also cover the walls of the hive with a thin layer of propolis and Store it in large globules. a

Harvesting propolis Propolis is harvested by some beekeepers in temperate zones to use as an active material for preparing ointments to treat many diseases. There is a demand for propolis in Europe and it is now being imported from China, Russia and South America. It is considered a Valuable addition to the allopathic medicines normally used. Each colony in a frame hive can provide the beekeeper with about 60 g of propolis every year. It is possible to increase production by placing a screen of 1.5 mm mesh gauze on top of a colony situated in a hive with

frames or top-bars with spaces between them. The bees will “propolize” the gauze ie seal it up completely with propolis. The propolis has to be scraped off but under tropical conditions this is not at all easy. The material becomes sticky and needs to be frozen before scraping it from the gauze. It is not allowed to heat propolis to more than 40°C because the volatile substances which are most valuable will partly evaporate. So it must not be melted out of the gauze. However in a tropical climate it is possible to scrape propolis off the top-bars and the inner sides of the hives after the honey has been extracted. It is best done in the cool season, preferably early in the morning. In the tropics beekeepers use propolis to attract swarms. They make a smail ball of propolis and rub the inner sides of empty hives to bait it.

Propolis used in medicine Although propolis is not recognised as an official medicine in Western countries, it has been used officially in Russia since 1962 and is also legally recognised in East European countries and in China. Propolis from different sources contains many flavones and flavonoids. 38 different representatives of this group have been identified in propolis. Most of these compounds are present in all samples of propolis and contribute to its characteristic properties, depending on the botanical origins. This makes it difficult to use in the pharmaceutical industry. Active substances should not be extracted from the mixture because their actions complement each other. The whole product is needed to produce a satisfactory therapeutical effect. It is not possible to produce propolis artificially because too many substances are involved. Based upon experience and upon literature and reports, the following pharmacological activities are attributed to propolis: Propolis is effective in the cure of several viral diseases like shingles, influenza, Pfeiffer’s disease and Crohn's disease. It also has anti-fungal and antibacterial activity. For instance against Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus alvii, Bacillus larvae, Proteus bulgaris and Escherizia coli B. It destroys several types of Sta-

phylococcus, Streptococcus and Salmonella species. It is useful against inflammations inside and outside the body. It is astringent and stimulates the

replacement and growth of cells and tissue. Combined with honey and fat it is an excellent ointment for wounds. Propolis has anti-rheumatic qualities especially if taken orally. It has a special quality that enhances the immune system of the body and stimulates the de-





diseases. Propolis is a very active anaesthetic, and for local treatment is even more powerful than cocaine.

How to use propolis The most practical way to use propolis orally is to take a few chips and swallow them; about one gram per day (a teaspoonful) is enough. If it is taken as a cure for inflammation somewhere in the head or the throat it is better to warm the pieces of propolis in the mouth and press them against a tooth. After some pressure with a finger it will stick and it will slowly dissolve in saliva. It takes about half an hour and it will work perfectly. To use propolis externally it has to be extracted in 70% ethyl alcohol. This dissolves practically all the essential oils and some of the balsam. The wax does not dissolve. The tincture is made by putting propolis in fine pieces in a pot which can be tightly closed. It should be filled up to a few centimetres below the rim. Fill it up with 70% ethyl alcohol to about one centimetre above the propolis. Leave it for three days, shaking the mixture once or twice daily. The extract will then be ready and has to be strained through a nylon stocking or some other fine material. A darkbrown tincture will be the result. If 70% ethyl alcohol is not available a strong drink can be used, for example whiskey. The tincture is made in the same way, it will be yellowish and the strength will be less of course, but it will be effective. Both solutions can be used internally. The extract in 70% ethyl alcohol should be taken as follows: 10 drops on preferably a teaspoon of honey, on a lump of sugar or on a peppermint sweet. The solution in a strong drink can be diluted with 50% water (it will become milky) and taken in small 11

quantities (a dessertspoonful) three times a day. An ointment can be made from the tincture. At first the solution has to be mixed thoroughly with the same quantity of clean honey. Then it can be mixed with an edible fatty substance like butter, or ghee, and again it should be stirred until evenly mixed with the same quantity of the first mixture (with ethyl alcoho! and honey). One should experiment with small quantities to find a suitable fatty substance. The ointment should be kept in a closed container in a cool place. The ointment

can be used for a wide variety of complaints, stimulating the healing process

and protecting against infections: wounds, grazes, burns, acne, dry eczema, psoriasis, herpes, itch, inflammations (also of the ear), boils, warts, bruises and pain. The ointment is active for about six hours. For cuts and wounds it can be added on a plaster, for other purposes it can be rubbed gently onto the skin as a thin layer. A final word about the toxicity of propolis. Relatively few studies have been carried out on the subject, but

generally it is recognised as harmless. In cases of serious low blood-pressure or low blood sugar, propolis should not be taken orally. In these cases it can cause dizziness. Although there is an indication that one in a thousand people may be sensitive it cannot be harmful to your health. To test for allergy to propolis simply apply some propolis salve on the inner wrist. If it does not redden or itch within a quarter of an hour, the patient is not allergic to propolis.

Ghana: 10 years of beekeeping development

African bees and Africanized bees From the correspondence we receive at IBRA there appears to be much confusion regarding the terms African and Africanized. African honeybees are those existing in Africa and are never referred to as Africanized. Africanized honeybees are those in Central and South America which originated from African bees introduced earlier this century. It has often been stated that Africanized bees are hybrids between introduced African bees and European bees (which had been introduced centuries before). However genetic research reveals that Africanized bees are not hybrids: they are genetically identical to their African ancestors. Some beekeepers in areas with Africanized bees introduce European queens and_ thus produce hybrid strains of bees with less defensive behaviour. Sometimes the term ‘pure Africanized” is used: this means African bees in America which have not been hybridized with other races of bees. Perhaps a more appropriate term for Africanized bees would be African bees in America? However this is rather wordy and until a better term is coined, the Newsletter will continue to refer to these bees as Africanized. Of course we * * **R would never use the term K


to everyone who has kindly sent interesting colour pictures of bees, beekeeping methods and local events. It is most useful to see these. However if your pictures are intended for use in the Newsletter, then please send negatives as well, as colour prints reproduce very poorly.

Thank you


Ghana provides an excellent example of a country where beekeeping has developed steadily over the last 10 years. Initial foreign assistance helped to procure useful information from elsewhere, and to start training of Ghanaian beekeepers. Further important steps were the start of a newsletter and the formation of first one and then several associations. With such a healthy infrastructure Ghana now has many rural people enjoying the benefits of beekeeping, supported by experts who are already sharing their expertise with neighbouring countries. The following article provides a review of the progress and problems still facing beekeeping development in Ghana.

Traditional beekeeping has long been practised in the Northern, Upper, Volta and Central regions of Ghana. Different types of hive are used in different places: in the north, clay pots and gourds are used, in the Volta Region, log hives are commonly made from dead royal palm trees. Central Region beekeepers use clay pot hives of a different design to those used in the North. Until the Technology Consultancy Centre (TCC) started its beekeeping programme in 1978, no government or aid agency had made any attempt to develop traditional beekeeping. During the 1960s, the Government had tried unsuccessfully to implement an apiculture project at Pokuase, near Accra using bees imported from Europe. All the insects died and the apiculture programme was shelved. The new path to beekeeping was created when the TCC officer for craft industries visited Kurofoforu, a village on the outskirts of Kumasi, where brass ornaments are made using the traditional lost-wax process. The craftsmen told him that they were suffering from a scarcity of beeswax and the attendant high prices. As a result, the TCC initiated a beekeeping programme aimed at making beeswax available for the lostwax brass casters. In those days the only hives known in Ghana were traditional ones unsuitable for management and control. Therefore a suitable bee hive was sought. An article in the Catholic Standard described the Kenya top-bar hive as the best one for the African honeybee. Tony Moody of the Commonwealth SecTetariat was in Ghana at the time and provided more information on beekeeping in East Africa. Drawings of the

Kenya top- bar hive were obtained and three trial hives were made. The very day that the three hives were brought to the TCC office, two men from the Brong-Ahafo Region approached TCC for information on beekeeping. Two of the beehives were given to the men and they were asked to send in a progress report. Two weeks later one of the men returned to report that “the Atebubu bees have agreed to stay in both the bee hives.” On hearing the good news, the TCC installed two bee hives in the University of Science and Technology Botanic Garden (in May 1978) and within two weeks both were colonised. This sparked off the TCC’s apiculture promotion programme. lot of groundwork was done. Two A officers were sent to East Africa with support from the Commonwealth Secretariat to study the new industry. In January 1981 beekeeping was officially “outdoored” with the staging of the first national beekeeping workshop. This was attended by 55 participants, two of whom were from the Republic of Togo. During this time Ghana Bee News was “conceived” and it was actually “born” in March 1981 with the first news itemn, “Ghana provides accommodation for bees”. From 1981 to the present time, more than 20 beekeeping workshops and short beekeeping courses have been organised by the TCC’s Apiculture Promotion Unit (AP). Workshops have usually attracted a few participants from neighbouring countries such as Cameroon, lvory Coast, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo. This has urged the APU to organise short international bee courses lasting one to two weeks. This way the

Centre has been able to train not only individual beekeepers but also national programme organisers. The beekeeping programme in Ghana provides training for beekeepers of all ages including schoolchildren and old people, and women as well as men. In all the APU has shown the way of medern beekeeping to over 3500 People. It is also interesting to note that many people who have never attended a beekeeping course are also keeping bees in Kenya top-bar hives (KTBH). Changes have been made to the original KTBH in response to complaints received from beekeepers. Lizards, ants Some wasps and other hive predators like the Acherontia atropos have led to the hive entrance being redesigned to keep out any hive predator with a wingspan of over 12 cm. Ghana’s KTBH has 27 top-bars and is usually built with odum wood (Choronew stand has been Phora excelsa). Made which can be dismantied and reassembled in seconds. While the KTBH Serves it purpose well, it does not enable the full potential of beekeeping to be exploited. The main drawback is that during harvesting the combs, as well as the honey are taken, so that the bees have to build new combs before they can start producing honey again. Therefore there is a long delay before the next harvest. In 1986, the APU decided to switch Over to the Langstroth hive which allows the beekeeper to harvest honey without damaging combs. The Langstroth hive tequires some machine work to cut the frames, but after that the beekeeper can assemble it, thus reducing manufacturing cost. The Langstroth hive used in Ghana is not identical to that used in Europe and America. The frames are fixed with stoppers so that little sticks can be used to seal off gaps between the frames. This enables the beekeeper to open the lid of the hive without the tisk of attack by bees leaving from the top of the hive. To date, more than 400 Modified Langstroth hives have been produced, The tropical African honeybee has two major characteristics which distinguish it from bees in Europe and elseWhere: it is aggressive and it absconds frequently, sometimes with only the slightest provocation. Aggressiveness is a minor problem compared with absconding. The time has now come to support research into ways of overcoming the Problem of absconding, using the exPertise of Africans themselves, gained from their experience of working with the African bee. Stephen Adjare, Ghana Bee News, 27, 1989 A

LOOKING AHEAD Please note that if you are planning a beekeeping event and you want details to appear in this column it is important that you send information to the Editor of the Newsletter well in advance of the planned date.



International Symposium on Recent Research on Bee Pathology. 5-7 September 1990, Gent. Further details from: Professor Dr O van Laere, Research Station for Nematology and Entomology, Van Gansberghelaan 96, B-9220 Merelbeke, Belgium.

Fifth International Conference on Apiculture in Tropical Climates. Provisional dates 7-12 September 1992, University of the West Indies. Further details from: International Bee Research Association, 18 North Road, Cardiff CF1 3DY, UK.



XIX International Congress of Entomology.

28 June

4 July 1992, Beijing. Further details from: Professor Z L Zhang, Secretary-General, XIX International Congress of Entomology, 19 Zhongguancun Lu, Beijing 100080, China. Telex: 222337 ICCST CN; Fax: —

(861) 2565689.

INDIA 11th International Congress of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects. 5-11 August 1990, Bangalore. Further details from: The Secretary, 11th Congress of IUSSI, Department of

Entomology, University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK Campus, Bangalore 560 065, India.

NETHERLANDS Sixth International Symposium on Pollination, under the auspices of International Commission for Plant Bee Relationships. 27-31 August 1990, Tilburg. Further details from: The Sixth International Symposium on_ Pollination, Ambrosiusweg 1, 5081 NV, Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands.

THAILAND International Symposium of Asian honeybees and bee mites. Chulalongkorn University in association with USAID and USDA.

10-14 February 1992, Chulalongkorn. Further details from: Dr Siriwat Wongsir, Bee Biology Research Unit, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.

Important Announcement

8th Royal Show International Symposium: The Contribution of the Honeybee to Agriculture and the Countryside. 4-10 July 1990.

The organisers have advised that this Symposium is now



Annual General Meeting of the International Bee Research Association. 1 September 1990 at 1415 hours, Pershore College of Horticulture, Worcester. Further details from: International Bee Research Association, 18 North Road, Cardiff CF1 3DY, UK.

The Behaviour and Physiology of Bees. — The Royal Entomological Society of London and the International Bee Research Association. 11-12 July 1990, London. Further details from IBRA, 18 North Road, Cardiff CF1 3DY, UK. The Meeting will consist of four main sessions: Environment within the hive; Communication; Foraging behaviour,

Joint Colloquium



International Workshop and Symposium on standard quality of bee products, bee diseases and residues. 24-26 May 1990, Ohrid. Further details from: The Organizing Committee, (Beekeeping Union of Macedonia), 91000 Skopje, PO Box 7, ul Dame Gruev 28/lll, Yugoslavia.

Congress of ApiculAPIMONDIA. 30 September — 5 October 1991. Further details from: Poslovna Zajednica ZA, Pcelarstvo Jugoslavije, Bulevar 17a 11070 Beograd, Yugoslavia. XXxXiIll International



This Newsletter is edited by Dr Nicola Bradbear with assistance from Heten Jackson, at the International Bee Research Association. Two editions of the Newsletter are published each year and are distributed free of charge to those in developing countries involved with beekeeping. The purpose of this Newsletter is to provide a forum for exchange of information; if you have a good idea then why not share it with others? If you are involved in beekeeping development then IBRA is always interested to hear of your work. Also if you have any enquiries about beekeeping and the information you need cannot be obtained locally then write to IBRA and we will try to help you. This Newsletter and the Information Service offered by !BRA to beekeepers in developing countries is funded by the UK Overseas Development Administration. If you know of another beekeeper who would benefit from access to this Newsletter or the information service provided by IBRA then his/her name can be added to our mailing list if they write to us. If your address has changed then please return the mailing label together with your new address.








Bees and beekeeping: Science, Practice and World Resources /y E Crane Oxford, UK; Heinemann Newnes (1990) 614 pp. Available from IBRA price 85.00 (UK post free, overseas surface post 2.00 on this book only on orders received before 30 September 1990).

Eva Crane's latest publication provides the most comprehensive, singlevolume source of information on the scientific principles behind beekeeping, the techniques in use, and the resources on which honeybees depend worldwide. For the first time we have a beekeeping text book written from an entirely global viewpoint without bias towards the beekeeping of any particular region. Beekeepers everywhere will find clear information relating to the type of bees they use and the beekeeping which can be practised in their region. The book is arranged in six parts: The bees used in beekeeping and background information (the basis of beekeeping and honeybees as_individuals and as members of a colony); Beekeeping with movable-frame hives (equipment, management methods); Beekeeping with simpler and cheaper hives (traditional and other types of hives and their management); Maintaining honeybee health; Honeybees, plant resources and products from the hive; Beekeepers (covering legislation and further resources). Appendix 1 lists important world honey sources and their geographic distribution, Appendix 14

2 is a gazetteer of beekeeping. The book carries a bibliography and plant, geographical and subject indexes. To demonstrate the comprehensive nature of this work take for example a single subject, say, foundation. A standard text will explain what foundation is, how it is made and used. Eva Crane’s text provides in addition the sizes of brood cells of different species and races of Apis (useful data not previously available in one table), addresses of suppliers of foundation of different sizes and the equipment for making it, discussion of the orientation of cells in foundation, the use of plain beeswax sheets in areas where foundation cannot be obtained, the use of waxes and materials other than beeswax for foundation, and even that the report, in April 1936, of rubber honeycomb from which the honey could simply be squeezed, was no more than an April Fool's joke! This book amasses information reflecting over 40 years’ work by Eva Crane in painstaking compilation of material concerning bees. Much data has been gathered together into a useful format for the first time and Eva Crane has been able to draw on the expertise of many in obtaining any elusive facts she required. Indeed, Eva Crane has been fortunate in her opportunities to meet beekeepers in every comer of the world and useful accounts of their experiences with various techniques illuminate and add interest throughout the text. Each chapter has a happily short list of selected further reading, with all necessary references carried together in the final extensive Bibliography. 614 pages, 78 tables and numerous illustrations inevitably lead to the single drawback of this book: the high price which makes it beyond reach for many individuals. If you are in this position then try to obtain a copy through your library, or perhaps a beekeeping group could together purchase a copy. This publication summarises all developments in modern management of bees and must surely stand unchallenged well into the next century as the authoritative text on the science and practice of beekeeping.

Ecology and natural history of tropical bees 4y D W Roubik

Cambridge, UK; University Press (1989) 514 pp. Available from IBRA price 50.00 (post and packing 3.00 to UK address, 4.00 overseas surface post). A new compendium of current knowledge on the 300 or so bee genera which occur in the tropics. After an introductory section describing the reasons for studying tropical bees and their diversity and distribution, the book deals in detail with the biology of foraging and pollination, nesting and reproduction and community ecology. The biology of some bee species (honeybees, bumble bees, carpenter and leaf-cutter bees) that live in temperate areas is well known. But as Roubik points out, although probably tropical in origin, there are few studies of these bees in tropical habitats. The study of tropical bees allows. insight into the ecology and evolution of groups of organisms in both temperate and tropical regions. The book contains two useful appendices, the first a partial checklist of families, subfamilies, tribes, genera and subgenera of the Apoidea, the second appendix consists of black and white photographs of 255bee specimens which could be helpful on the way to identification of a particular species. Interesting black and white photographs and drawings are also interspersed throughout the text. This publication will be of interest primarily to entomologists but it does carry information for those concerned purely with tropical beekeeping. Roubik informs us that while there are 800 kinds of stingless bees, at least seven species of Apis, and 30 forms of Bombus that produce honey in tropical latitudes, no more than 5% of these honey-making bee species are cultivated by beekeepers.

Education Resource Pack London, UK; IBRA (1990) with financial support from the National & Provincial Building Society. Available from IBRA price 5.50 plus post and packing (1.00 per Pack UK, 2.00 per Pack overseas surface post). Nicola Bradbear, Janice Goodwin and Helen Jackson of the International Bee Research Association have produced an Education Resource Pack for UK



schools, conservation organisations and all those who wish to find out more. Aimed at people with little or no experience of bees or beekeeping, it provides posters, resource sheet, GK contact addresses and_ information sources in a convenient format to Stimulate discussion and make study both topical and interesting. The contents are enclosed in an attractive lamiNated folder (generously printed and supplied by the National & Provincial Building Society) which should give each Pack many years of service in the classroom. Replacing expensive reference books with a cost-effective basis for group and classroom activity, the Pack provides entry at a new level into the fascinating world of the bee. It should be emphasised that this Pack is not particularly intended for practising beekeepers, but for all those outside beekeeping who would like to Start learning. The contact addresses and lists of places to visit are all within the UK.


Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Apiculture in Tropical Climates, Cairo, November 1988. London, UK; IBRA with financial support from the Australian International DevelOpment Assistance Bureau (1989) 549 Pp.

Available from IBRA price 35.00 (post to UK address, and packing 3.00 4.00 overseas surface post).

Containing all papers presented at the Conference and including speeches and resolutions. Sessions included: African honeybees; Africanized honeybees; Asian honeybees; Improving the quality Standards of honey and wax; Marketing; Appropriate beekeeping equipment; Management techniques and problems; Beekeeping in integrated rural developMent programmes; Education and training; Country reports; Crop polliNation and forage; Pest control safe for bees; Encouraging women as beekeepers; The importation of honeybees; Mite Parasites of honeybees; Other pests and diseases; Bee products for the benefit of human health.

Varroasis of the honeybee Jy FAO

Rome, Italy; FAO (1989). Available from IBRA price to be announced. This is a new audio-visual programme consisting of 108 colour slides, a cassette with commentary (in English or French), a text of the commentary and further notes for extension workers. The programme is presented in two parts: Part 1 is a non-technical description of Varroa disease, what it is and why it poses a threat to world agriculture, Part 2 is technical information, how to diagnose and combat Varroa using chemical or biological methods. The slides and text together produce a most useful source of information about Varroa and how to cope with it. The slides are of the highest quality and together with well-thought-out graphics tell their story very clearly. The sequence of pictures of Varroa and their effect on bees will be helpful to beekeepers who have been unsure how to identify the mite, and will convince others of the importance of not contributing to the further spread of the disease. The programme does acknowledge that not all beekeeping is in movableframe hives, but suggests that beekeepers should switch from fixed-comb to movable-frame if Varroa is to be controlled. This option is of course not open to all. Pictures of African beekeeping are used which may lead some to believe wrongly that Varroa is already present south of the Sahara. This is an excellent programme which will be a useful aid in teaching. It should be used also in countries that are so far without Varroa mite: it provides compelling evidence against honeybee importation and the possibility of introducing this dreadful disease.

Information for beekeepers in tropical and subtropical


Arabic versions of beekeeping Information Charts The four Information Charts (Beeswax, Honey, Top-bar Hives and Pollination)

have now been translated and printed in Arabic. This has been achieved under generous funding from the Near East Foundation (NEF), and through the efforts of Mr Salamma El Bably, NEF staff in Cairo, Sudan Bee and Agriculture Association (SUBA), NEF Western Sudan Beekeeping Project, Sudan Agricultural Research Council and Dr Amir Saad. All of this co-ordinated by Roger Hardister, Regional Program Director of NEF. The Arabic Charts have already been widely distributed throughout Egypt and Sudan, but a few copies are

still available to interested agencies or individuals. Contact Mr Ali Mokhtar, NEF/





nator, NEF, 14 Hussein Hegazi St, PO Box 5, Maglis El Shaab, Cairo, Egypt. In Sudan, Information Charts are available from the NEF Office and SUBA. In Khartoum contact NEF and SUBA through Mr Kamal El Faki, Assistant Program Co-ordinator, NEF, c/o Acropole Hotel, PO Box 48. In Central Region, contact Mr Abdel Harnid Al Gaf-

far, SUBA General Manager, Kosti. In Western Sudan, contact Mr Ismail Mohamed Shareef, NEF, WSBP Co-ordinator, Soil Conservation Department, Nyala. The Arabic Charts have already proved very popular, but NEF has no funds available for further printing. NEF would be pleased to co-operate with any organisation interested in funding a second printing: contact NEF at the above address in Cairo. Thanks to all concerned in this useful work. Arabic editions of the Charts are not available from IBRA in the UK. The original English versions of the Charts are still available, free of charge to institutes such as schools and agricultural colleges, and beekeeping projects in developing countries. Write to Nicola Bradbear, Advisory Officer for Tropical Apiculture, International Bee Research Association, 18 North Road, Cardiff CF1 3DY, UK. Please note: Information Charts are dispatched by surface post and may take some time to reach you.

Leaflets from IBRA These leaflets are available free of charge to beekeepers in developing countries.

Information obtainable Leaflet 1 from IBRA. An eight page leaflet detailing publications available.

Leaflet — The management of Africanized bees. A four page leaflet available in English or Spanish. find out on African or Africanized? page 12 2

Leaflet 3 — Varroa jacobsoni. A four page leaflet describing Varroa jacobsoni, its biology, how to detect its presence and methods to control it. Leaflet



The Asian hive bee, Apis cerana. A new eight page leaflet describing the biology and distribution of Apis cerana together with Jan Olsson’s methods for the prevention of absconding. 15

If undelivered, please return to: IBRA, 18 North Road, Cardiff CF1 3DY, UK.







FIFTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON APICGULTGRE IN TROPICAL CLIMATES 7-12 September 1992, University of the West Indies, Trinidad, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago The major Conference for those interested in tropical beekeeping. ® in rural development Beekeeping ® hives and equipment Appropriate Allspecies of tropical honeybees — @



SERIAL No. 389

An opportunity to meet with beekeepers amateur and professional, advisers, scientists and project workers from around the world.

5TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON APICULTURE IN TROPICAL CLIMATES, TRINIDAD 1992 Please send me further details of the Conference as they become available: Name.


Return to: IBRA, 18 North Road, Cardiff CF1 3DY, GK